Marketing Needs wants and demands

To help understand customer requirements it is helpful to think in terms of needs, wants and demands of the customer. Needs are defined as ‘states of felt deprivation’ such as food and self-expression. Needs become wants when it is directed towards a specific object or service that is believed to satisfy that need. Wants are the manifestation of the human need that is shaped by the individual and their culture.

Wants become demands when the customer has the capacity and inclination to pay for the object or service.

Marketers divide the types of needs into stated, real, unstated, delight and secret needs as shown below:

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Alternatives to Maslow: Max-Neef

Alternatives to Maslow: Max-Neef

As discussed in an earlier blog post, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has been getting a bad rap. The categories of Maslow’s are great, but the use of the pyramid seems questionable.

This line of thought, and a recent marketing assignment, had me wondering – if Maslows is faulty, what else could I reference when explaining possible needs of the consumer?

Enter Max-Neef’s theory of Fundamental Human Needs. According to wikipedia Max-Neef classifies the fundamental human needs as:

  • subsistence
  • protection
  • affection
  • understanding
  • participation
  • leisure
  • creation
  • identity
  • freedom

Kathy McMahon from blog peak oil blues has written a great post on Maslow’s and Max-Neef, if you have ten minutes to spare, check it out.